One of the predominate themes present in Desert Solitaire is the conflict between civilization and the wilderness. Abbey introduces this motif at the beginning of his memoir at personal level. On first day of his employment with United States Park Service Abbey describes the first pair arches that he encounter. The sight of massive fifty foot boulders impresses him and he makes a conceptual comparison with the human altered monuments on Easter Island. This comparison troubles Abbey because civilization has tainted his ability to objectively view nature outside of “humanly ascribed qualities (Abbey, 1968, p. 6).” Abbey struggle to eliminate this anthropocentric premonitions continues when he encounters a pair of gopher snakes mating. Abbey wishes to observe closer but is reluctant because he was “stung by a fear too ancient and power full to overcome (Abbey, 1968, p. 21).”
This anthropocentric theme continues throughout his narrative but is personified on a societal level. This matter is first introduced in the chapter “Polemic: Industrial Tourism and The National Parks.” In this chapter Abbey notes the expansionist nature of the industrial economy and how it is affecting the national parks. Abbey critiques arguments for uni...
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...sk was lured to Utah seeking to make a fortune mining uranium. Husk brought his family with him and liquidated his assets. Husk was first approached by a local pilot Charles “Chuck” Graham to purchase a forty percent share of the Hot Rock Mountain Development Company (Abbey, 1968, p. 80). Husk was delighted to initiate the partnership and enlisted his sun Billy Joe to assist him during the operation. For months Husk and Billy Joe labored, while Graham coveted Husk’s wife and share of the venture. The narrative tragically concluded in the deaths of Graham, Husk, and Billy Joe as a result of greed. These social changes not only negatively affected the landscape but affected the morality of the regions inhabitants.
Throughout Abbey’s account of his time in Arches National Monument he illustrates the beauty and significance of preserving the American southwest.
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